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As the girl came running up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes...So, in 1989, readers were introduced to Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman informer, as he stood on the steps of the Temple of Saturn, looking out across the Forum: the heart of his world. Twenty years and twenty books later, Falco fans want a companion volume. Only here will you learn the author's private background, including her descent from a failed assassin and how atheism improved her knitting. Here too are the real glories and heartache involved in research and creation: why the baby had to be born in Barcelona, which plots evolved from intense loathing of management trainees, what part a thermal vest played in the iconic Falco's conception. It can't be a complete handbook to ancient Rome, but it covers perennial issues. There are a hundred illustrations, some specially commissioned, others from family archives. Enlightening quotations come from the Falco books and from eminent sources: Juvenal, through Chandler, to 1066 and All That. Readers have asked for this book. Their paranoid, secretive author agrees it is now or never. Time to spill beans on the travertine...